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Nanotechnology in farming

Nanotechnology applications

Nanotechnology offers solutions to various problems in agriculture such as reducing the use of fertilizer, pesticide and water, improve plant and animal breeding besides creating and making available nano based bioindustrial products. Nanotechnology can be used for the controlled environment agriculture such as "smart" pesticides delivery, control of crops, complete plant health monitoring, extreme condition agriculture for space, cold, hot areas and other related fields such as animal food and health, control of microbial and chemical contamination. Nanotechnology can offer new tools for the molecular treatment of diseases, rapid disease detection, enhancing the ability of plants to absorb nutrients etc. Nanotechnology will help the agricultural industry combat viruses and other crop pathogens. Nano-barcodes and nano-processing could also help monitor the quality of agricultural produce.
Water management

Nanotechnology is applied to make sensors to timely monitor what crops need more water and nutrients. Such nanosensors can measure water stress on plants in an individualised and localised manner. Each plant, root system or plot of land can then be given the exact amount of water it needs, thus rationalising the use of water.

Biomass waste detection and management

Many agro-industrial processes consist of mechanically separating and treating fibres, such as cotton. During these processing steps losses are high, in the case of cotton up to 25%. Nanotechnologists are developing nanofibres based on the cellulose contained in this waste. The waste is detected and captured during the cotton processing steps and used in high-tech micro-fabrics. Several such applications are under way that intervene in various processing stages used to transform other agricultural products, all of them potentially resulting in efficiency increases and new products being derived from existing biomass streams.

Cellulose nano-crystals and fibre for bioplastics

Researchers are developing nanocrystals based on plant cellulose that can be used to strengthen bioplastics which are used in ceramics and in biomedical applications such as artificial joints and disposable medical equipment. Using cellulosic nanocrystals to strengthen plastics has advantages over the glass fibre as glass is heavier, harder on processing machinery and therefore more expensive to work with, and it can not be degraded. The cellulose nanocrystals will break down quickly in a landfill.

Bio and environmental sensors

A whole range of intelligent nano-sensors is being developed that can be used to detect pests, diseases, or micro-organisms that damage plants. The sensors come in different forms, but can generally be applied on an individual plant level, just as they can be applied en masse. The applications are opening up an entirely new era of 'nano-phytopathology' and pest management. Using such sensors pest problems can be detected much earlier, managed much more locally and focused, which results in lower losses and lower costs.Besides detecting growth-threatening factors, other nanosensors are being developed that detect and signal all possible local environmental factors ranging from nutrient deficiency to water stress and temperature sensitivity.


In the near future nanostructured catalysts will be available which will increase the efficiency of pesticides and herbicides, allowing lower doses to be used. Nanotechnology will also protect the environment indirectly through the use of alternative (renewable) energy supplies, and filters or catalysts to reduce pollution and clean up existing pollutants.
Thus agrifood nanotechnology is expected to become a driving economic force in the long-term, less certain is precisely what to expect in the near-term. Some of the key issues are: impact of nanotech based products on the farming, food and bioenergy production chain, the impact of using on human and environment and the effect of carry over of nanomaterials in the food chain of human, plant and animal kingdom.

5 Responses to “Nanotechnology in farming”

qufeng49 said...
January 29, 2012 at 5:36 AM

This is a very good article that tells me the benefits of nanotechnology in straigt-forward apporach.

I'm now highly knowledgeable about nanotechnology.

jamie said...
April 8, 2012 at 11:06 PM

I can't tell you how many articles I've read in relation to GHG reduction, energy conservation, and waste management in agriculture. It's been a joke, as an environmental science major, to find that real technology truly lacks in rectifying the very real problem we have with pollution on our farms and ranches. I have researched nano sciences before and it actually seems viable. We need these catalysts because at the rate we're moving, our ecosystems don't stand a chance against the demand for farm-made products. Keep up the good work, and lets SAVE OUR FARMS and RANCHES!

Dean said...
July 30, 2012 at 6:21 AM

Nano technology is used in the field of agriculture. Nano fertilizers are very unique and effective fertilizer many countries has now started using this fertilizer for farming or growing plants.

Market Analysis said...
October 22, 2012 at 1:59 AM

In the coming years, nanotechnology is set to play a pivotal role in various industry segments. The evolving technology has already influenced a large number of industrial segments, and the economic activity generated from it has been high in magnitude and wide in scope.
nanotechnology market

Anonymous said...
May 1, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Is there any possibility for using silver nanoparticles as microbicides in field level for managing plant diseases?

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